- Germany needs a lot of doctors and offers good salaries for PG medical training positions, just come!!!
- Start working in a Pg Medical Training position after Berufserlaubnis!!!
These and many other similar sounding statements appear in abundance on the internet posted by over-zealous agencies, inexperienced individuals with half-baked knowledge and in many cases by well-meaning seniors; while all of this has some truth, this is not the full truth. Just that it is missing the very essentials, which today – dated 1st December 2017 – have become critical to getting and maintaining a real, legally valid and educationally beneficial postgraduate medical training position in Germany (Assistenzarztstelle zur Facharztweiterbildung)
Let’s look at the blind spots: Indeed, technically speaking; only a B2 certificate is required to submit the application documents for Approbation, a.k.a the permanent German medical practicing license at the regional government departments. However, A mere B2 is never enough to master the sophisticated communication required in real life situations, hence the rush to top it some German medical language course. Now, this is like trying to transform a regular street car like the TATA for instance, into a fast Ferrari 812 super-fast by adding some racing wheels. Medical doctors, in all countries of the world, come from an excellent educational background and are expected to reflect this in their expression and behavior. A very well-developed language is the first tool, combined with in-depth sensitivity and mastery of the cultural particularities of the given environments. Especially in Germany, where patients have a wide choice of healthcare providers and demand to discuss their medical status in depth and in breadth with doctors, before entrusting them their bodies for treatment, excellent communication skills are needed. This serves as a security measure to avoid misunderstandings and the incidental malpractice – a hot topic for hospital quality management and health insurance companies.
The most important commercial proposition of any hospital is its ability to offer its clients (patients) a professional service by doctors who are capable of smoothly speaking their language and understand the human stories from not only the spoken word but also from the unspoken and the nods of shakes of their heads.
In short: Advanced spoken, written and audio-captive C1 level, not only in medical terminology but as solid general language foundation, is as important as a Professional Architect is to a High-rise building to PG Medical training in Germany.
Let us now explore the “Myth of working with Berufserlaubnis”. If you are a foreign doctor in Germany, surviving with B2, wondering why the promised full training job is not materializing after months/years of working with Berufserlaubnis? Years ago, it was a common practice of German regional governments to issue “temporary medical practicing licenses” for young doctors to permit a period of practical experience in order to accustom to the German hospital system. Time proved that the contribution of such doctors was extremely limited and at times even detrimental to the hospital’s interest because they did not possess the required high-level language skills and also lacked a proper understanding of crucial topics like the German Medical law, Pharmacology, Radiation protection etc. This prevented these doctors from full participation, at times even posed a risk and also created additional work-load to the regular staff. Hence hospitals started wondering why to accept an ill-prepared staff into a busy team. Many hospitals, particularly university teaching hospitals with the duty to provide rotation internships for medical students, made new rules not to accept any doctors without full Approbation, except for very-short-term observerships for very rudimentary tasks. However, as there indeed is a shortage of doctors (as well of Nurses) in Germany, these under-prepared doctors desperate to take any assignment come in handy for some hospitals because it’s very easy to lure such candidates with vague utterances of future employment of real PG Training. This is done because these doctors can be utilized for the many basic and repetitive tasks for instance like drawing blood, basic care of patients. While the “real doctors” are busy training and treating.
On the surface, this appears to be a win-win situation but not so. The problem here is that the candidate gets stuck. Berufserlaubnis is limited in time and often this puts a strain on the finances of the candidate as many such jobs are unpaid and time is running out without full Approbation in sight. Passing the equivalency exam without intensive, full-time preparation has almost become impossible nowadays. And the required knowledge certainly will not come by osmosis simply through spending 8-12 hours inside of a hospital – doing basic tasks and talking basics. If Approbation doesn’t materialize swiftly, hospitals can just turn the wheel: Hire a “real one”, fire the temp-guy. Alternatively, keep the temp-guy for the basics, and give the real PG trainee, who’s got full Approbation, the full training attention.
Conclusion: “Working with Berufserlaubnis” very often is a dead-end road. If – in rare cases – it is paid, at least it can be called work. A candidate in this position certainly cannot be called to be enrolled in a Pg medical course, as this only begins with full Approbation. Getting and providing such jobs are limited to the desperate-s: no better choices – no better staff, a temporary win-win until it falls apart. The loss is less for the hospitals, as there is still a steady supply, but bigger for the doctors, because their track records indicate not having known better, Which is not good when competing with the smarter ones for the better jobs afterward. The best and proven way is to obtain Approbation before one starts postgraduate medical training in Germany.
Dr. K Peteriet,
Dr. Petereit is our Principal and Program director of PGMP, in Bonn. She has guided more than 100 young medical doctors to achieve their dream of PG training in Germany.
Memberships and Associations:
- Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Qualitat – German Association of Quality Management
- International Evaluator for DAAD- The German Academic Exchange Service.
- Fullbright Alumni Association.
- Rotary International.
Her firm belief and formula for success are: Winning the competition for a high-quality PG Medical training position in Germany – and successfully performed at the job – works like sports: Those who train hardest and smartest will perform best in the game.